Wednesday, February 11, 2015

teaching preschoolers at home: part one

Not too long ago, I became a stay at home mama to two littles (Dean: age 4 and Vivian: age 2.5). 
It's what I dreamed of long ago, but never saw a clear path to get there. 
And now, here I am. 
It's been exhausting, overwhelming 
and completely rad

I've been asked by a couple of mamas what curriculum I use, and honestly I could do a quick post where I share my resources, but I feel like that's not a fair answer. 
Because learning is happening all the time and how I guide the learning is much, much more than my resources alone.

Let me do a quick disclaimer saying: I do not have it all together. 
There are some days my kids watch WAY too much television. Days when formal school doesn't happen, and days when I feel like I'm lost in the world of early childhood education. 
I'm also going to say that children are resilient and no one day, week or even month is going to make or break them. 
It's a totality that grows them long term. 
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Now that that's all out of the way, let's dig in. 

1. What you teach depends on you. 
Seems super obvious, but I think that at least a short examination of what you value in a learning environment is incredibly important before you get going. 

To do this, you could ask yourself: 
If I'm looking at a preschool for my kids what would it look and feel like? What would they sell me with? What would make me buy in? 
Is it a school's use of technology? 
Is it the outside play area? 
Is it the light in the classrooms? 
Are the classrooms neat and orderly or messy and played in? 

If I was spending my family's hard earned money on care...what would I want?


Inviting spaces for children  This school has an interesting mix of Reggio and Montessori materials as a part of the classroom environment
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I've thought through this and come up with the following notes for my own children:


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I want a school that recognizes my kid's individual strengths and interests and plans around them. I want the sunshine to be where they are, and I want them to have freedom for work and play. I also want them to be taught to find joy in buckling down and doing the hard parts. 

I want them to be taught to love to learn. 


Fall Project: Set Up a Book Nook - tons of great inspiration here!
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I've added some pictures of my fave pins that highlight parts of what I want a school day at home to look like. 


love the draped sheet and the arrangement of tables
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Obviously, where we are doesn't look like these photos. 
We don't have a separate area for learning and one for living. And we do not have all these materials.
But the idea is to start figuring out where your values are...not to copy someone else's.

With that said, when I'm dreaming...
I'm dreaming big
I don't consider time, financial, logistical, or energy restraints in the dreams.
I imagine infinite resources allowing me to get where I want to go and do what I want to do.
Outdoor play. For more inspiring classrooms visit: http://pinterest.com/kinderooacademy/provocations-inspiring-classrooms/ ≈ ≈
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Once you've spent some time dreaming, you'll have a better understanding about what you should prioritize. 


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If you write out your list and find that you want kids up and moving a lot...intense workbooks may not be for you.


Playroom
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If you're hoping for an organic learning style...phonics lessons are probably not going to be your cup of tea. 
More pegboard...
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So settle in and make a list. Add anything you find valuable. Search pinterest to get your thoughts going and mull it over. 
A Montessori/Waldorf-Inspired School at Home for Bea & Friends
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to be continued...


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